Archive

Category Archives for "Diagnostic"

Cause Of Lights Dimming In Car And What To Do?

So, you are driving your car and all of a sudden the lights start dimming or flicker. You wonder to yourself, what might be causing that to happen? Well, there is a handful of reason why your car lights might be dimming. In this article, we are going to look at all the common reasons that can cause lights dimming in your car. We will cover each one in detail. We will also explain possible solutions to the problem. Read on to learn the main causes for dimming lights in your vehicle.

Cause Of Lights Dimming In Car And What To Do

Cause Of Lights Dimming In Car And What To Do

Electrical

So dimming or flickering lights in your car or your headlight  is a somewhat common problem to have. This is especially true depending on the age of the car or the age of certain parts of the car. Flickering lights in your vehicle normally always indicates that there is an electrical problem going on. What exactly the problem is can vary though. A lot of times electrical problems can be hard to find. We will explain the best way though to start trying to figure out what electrical problem there is, so you can start looking in the right area.

Battery

The first electrical component you should think about if your car starts to have dimming lights is your battery. You should think about how old the battery is, and when it was last replaced. An old draining battery could be the cause of your dimming lights. If you have an old battery in your car, then it is a good spot to start when investigating why your lights are dimming.

The best way to investigate your battery is to have it tested. If you or a friend doesn’t have a battery tester, then you can take it to most any shop. At the shop a lot of times they will help test the battery for free.

They are willing to do this because they know that if it is bad you will most likely buy a new one from them, and also come back there for other services. The battery testing can tell you how well the battery is holding a charge, as well as how charged it is getting when full.

Old batteries don’t hold there charge as well and could drain faster then they can recharge while driving, so this is why your lights might flicker or dim. If the battery is not the issue, then you can move onto checking the next thing, which can also be checked while testing the battery. The best battery maintainer is suitable tool for this situation, you can use this tool to recharge your car battery.

Alternator

The next most common cause of dimming lights in your vehicle, if it has some age to it, is a failing alternator. A lot of times the alternator won’t go out completely but instead will fail intermittently. The period that it is not working is when the lights will dim or flicker while driving. That is because the alternator is what charges the battery and if it stops charging while driving, then the battery will drain.

A lot of times though if the alternator is an issue, then lights will start to come on, on your dash. For most vehicles, if the brake light and the battery light come on at the same time, that means the alternator is going out. Sometimes though these lights will only flicker on, and then go back out because the alternator will start working again. In the daylight that makes it so it might be hard to see the lights. When testing the battery, then can check the alternator and if it isn’t charging right, then the test will tell you. Then you can have it replaced.

Ground Wires

If the battery or the alternator isn’t the problems, then the problem might be in the ground wires. The ground wires are like the name suggest responsible for keeping the car grounded. If the vehicle is old, then the ground wires might have started to come loose. If that is the case, then it could cause the lights to flicker. This is especially a common problem if you notice the lights flickering when you hit a bump.

If you suspect faulty ground wires, then all you have to do is check them. If they are loose, then you can tighten them. They may not be loose though and instead be damaged. Sometimes part of the insulation on the wire might wear off, and the wire grounding out could cause the lights to dim or flicker. If the ground wires are damaged in any way, then you should have them replaced. This should solve the problem you are having dimming or flickering lights.

Voltage Regulator

The last component that might be having issues, if your car is older, and cause the lights to dim or flicker is your voltage regulator. This is a device that works with the alternator to help control the amount of voltage being put out. If too much or too little voltage is being put out, then it could cause your lights to dim or flicker. Normally this part last for a while though, but like anything man-made and mechanical, there is no set breaking point, so it doesn’t hurt to check it if the other things on this list aren’t the issue.

The voltage regulator can be tested at any shop, and a lot of times it can be tested as part of testing the battery. If it is the issue, then you can have it replaced just like you can the alternator.   These four things are the main things to check if your vehicle has some age too it. If your vehicle is not old though, then you need to ask yourself a different question. That is have you installed anything new?

Aftermarket Equipment

If you answer yes to the previous question, then that might just be the reason that your car is having flickering or dimming lights. Installing new aftermarket equipment can easily be the reason your car’s lights are dimming or flickering. That is for a variety of reasons. The first is maybe the part didn’t get installed correctly. If a wire is loose, then it could lead to the problem at hand. Also, if the wires are not connected right, then that would explain the problem. If you have installed something new, then check it to make sure it was installed right.

If the aftermarket equipment was installed right, then you have to move on to the next question. That is can your car’s battery handle the extra load? If the aftermarket equipment is power-hungry, then the alternator and battery you have might not be able to keep up with the draw of the equipment. If that is the case, then flickering lights can occur. Look at the specs of the equipment and see how many draws you are adding. If it is a decent amount, then you might have to upgrade the battery to one with a higher complicity, so you can run all the equipment.

Conclusion

As you can see though from this list, most problems that relate to flickering and dimming lights aren’t major. The bad battery or alternator is the worst because this might lead to your car not starting. That is why it is a good idea to have them checked as soon as your lights start acting funny. The lights dimming or flickering is a good warning sign that you should take seriously so you don’t end up stranded. Sometimes though, it can be hard to figure out the exact cause of electrical issues that is what dimming lights indicate. That is why it is key to ask yourself is your car old or did you install something new, so you can start looking for the possible problem in the right order.

What Is The Average Lifetime Of Brake Rotors?

Most people that drive know that they have to change their brake pads, but not everyone know that you also have to change the brake rotors every so often. Some people don’t even know what exactly the brake rotors are. Well, today in this article we are going to explain what brake rotors are, what they do, and the average life of brake rotors. That way you can take a look at yours and next time you change your brake pads you can decide if your rotors need to be changed too. Read on to learn everything you need to know about brake rotors and have your frequently asked questions answered.

What is the Average Lifetime of Brake Rotors

What is the Average Lifetime of Brake Rotors

What are Brake Rotors

Before getting into the lifespan of brake rotors we are first going to talk about what brake rotors are. Most people know about brake pads on their vehicle, but not everyone realized that your brakes have brake rotors as well to get your vehicle to stop. The brake rotor is a metal round disc that is connected to the wheel. It is what the calipers go over the top of and what the brake pads clamp onto to get your vehicle to stop. The rotor is the metal disc that you see when you look at your car’s wheels thru the hub cap. They start off silver and clean but normally end up getting rusty looking and dirty from the grim of the road and the dust from the brake pads.

Types of Rotors

Now that you know what the rotor is we can actually talk about the different types of rotors. Talking about the different types before how long the rotor last is important because different types last different lengths of time. In other words, the type of rotor affects the average lifetime of the rotor. There are four main types of brake rotors. They are drilled, slotted, slotted and drilled, smooth, and two pieces floating. We are going to talk about each type in the following paragraphs.

Drilled

Drilled rotor

Drilled rotor

The first type of rotor we are going to talk about are drilled rotors. They are called this because holes are precisely drilled into the rotor to prevent heat from building up. They also prevent gas buildup when braking. Another benefit to drilled rotors is that they work better in wet conditions. That is because water will not pool up on the surface of the rotor. Instead, it can escape thru the holes making it easier to stop. Drilled rotors have less heat than normal rotors, but they still may not last as long because the holes in the rotor can affect the strength of them. Drilled rotors are more likely to crack than certain other types, but they are still a good rotor option.

Slotted

Slotted rotors have a lot of the same benefits as drilled rotors. That is because they have slots in them that reduce the amount of surface that comes into contact with the brake pads when braking. This means that less heat is built up and also dust has areas to escape so gas doesn’t build up. The slots in the rotors also allow water to pass over the rotor without pulling. The benefit of the slotted rotor over the drilled rotors though is that the rotor is still one solid piece of metal. This adds strength to the rotor and reduces the likely hood of the rotor cracking. This added benefit plus the other benefits make the slotted rotor the most popular rotor for those that are seeking a better than the standard rotor.

Slotted and Drilled

Waiting for assembly of the car brake system

Waiting for assembly of the car brake system

The next type of rotor that we are going to look at is the slotted and drilled. This combines the slotted rotor with the drilled rotor that we have talked about previously. The name should make that obvious to you. By combining the slotted with the drilled you get the most benefit of reduced heat that comes from the drilled while still having some of the strength of the slotted. Since this kind has two processes that go into making them they can be costly, but are a good rotor and typically last a decent amount of time.

Smooth

Moving along the next kind of rotor we are going to talk about is the most common and that is smooth. You can also call this the standard rotor. Smooth rotors are just one flat round disc of metal. It is what comes on most cars. However, smooth isn’t always the best. They are okay for none aggressive driving conditions such as a luxury car cruiser, but in aggressive driving, they can wear out quicker than others. That is because all the brake pad is contacted all the surface and this takes metal off the pad and the rotor. The faster you are going when you begin to stop the more wear that occurs on the rotor. Smooth rotors still last longer than brake pads, but might not last as long as some of the other options depending on how you drive.

Two-Piece Floating

The last brake rotor style is two-piece floating. This kind is two pieces and it reduces the heat and friction because the rotor can give some with the brake pad. They are great for hot conditions where the rotor might expand and for stopping fast but are not good in the cold. Salt can be a real problem because since they are floating it can get into the rotor and cause damage or worse cause you not to stop. Two-piece floating rotors aren’t seen very often, but it is an option to keep in mind.

How long do they last

So, now that we have covered all the different types of rotors we can start talking about the average lifespan of brake rotors. Well, the answer to this is hard because a lot depends on your driving style and conditions. Most rotors can last 30,000 miles to 70,000 miles depending on how you drive. The things that can help you rotor last longer though is to change your brake pads when needed. That is because old pads can cut into and gauge rotors. This will ruin them. Also, have rotors turned every time you have pads changed. That way your rotors will wear evenly and not get warped.

The things with driving condition and style that affect rotors are if you drive fast and then brake hard. This is especially true if you accelerate quickly and then brake quickly. Also, if you drive in a lot of stops and go traffic where you brake a lot, your rotors will wear out faster than if you have a lot of freeway driving. The more you use your brakes the faster your rotors will wear out. A good key though is that rotors should last about three times as long as your brake pads, so if you can determine how long a set of brake pads last for you, that should give you a rough estimate of how long your rotors will last.

Conclusion

So, now you know the average lifetime of brake rotors. You know that most brake rotors will have a lifespan of 30,000 miles to 70,000 miles. You also know some of the factors that affect the life of your brake rotors. Lastly, you know the different kinds of rotors that are available and which ones last longer or shorter. Now that you have read this article you can find the best rotors for you and your need and also determine if you need to change your brake rotors or just have them turned. You now have all the FAQ about brake rotors answered.

What Are Cold Cranking Amps?

When looking at batteries for vehicles there are a few important numbers. The main ones are cold cranking amps and reserve power. All car batteries are 12-volt, and most are actually slightly more than this when new. It is important to know all the features of a battery when picking it out.

Things such as the type of battery design are as well as the reserve capacity and cold cranking amps. Knowing these specific things about the battery won’t really help you though if you don’t know what these things are. That is why in this article we are going to talk about what is actually meant by cold cranking amps. After reading this article you will have all your questions answered about cold cranking amps.

What are Cold Cranking Amps

What are Cold Cranking Amps

What are they

So, before getting into specific questions about cold cranking amps we are first going to look at what cold cranking amps are. This term is used a lot and many people don’t know the actual meaning of what it is.

Well, cold cranking amps by definition is how many amps a battery can put out at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds while still maintaining 7.2 volts of power. The reason that 7.2 volts are the number for the measure is that that is 1.2 volts per cell of the battery.

If you need maintain your car battery, the best battery tender is the perfect choice.

Why Cold Cranking Amps Important

So, now that you know what cold cranking amps actually are, why is cold used?

Well, starting a vehicle in the cold is harder than in the warmth. That is why cold is used for the measurement.

It is important to know how many amps a battery can put out in extremely cold conditions. Yes, some places get colder than 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is a good baseline measurement number to give you an idea of how the battery is designed and how well it will perform in extreme conditions.

Checking the voltage level in a car battery

Checking the voltage level in a car battery

Should I buy based on CCA

So, now that you know what cold cranking amps are or CCA for short, the question becomes should you buy a battery based off them. A lot of people when going battery shopping say that they are going to buy the battery with the coldest cranking amps, but is this a good method.

The answer a lot of times is NO. That is because most vehicles don’t actually see 0-degree weather. If you live in southern California or Florida for instance, then the temperatures never get that cold. What about if you live in South Dakota, but are buying a battery for a Corvette or sports car, then it doesn’t make sense to focus on CCA either because a Corvette isn’t going to drive in the cold.

The reason you should focus on CCA is if you live in an area that sees cold and if you are buying a battery for a vehicle that will be driving in the cold. Having the manufactures recommended cold cranking amps battery is good enough in most places.

If you live in an area where it gets cold you can spend extra to get a stronger battery, but if you aren’t going to be driving the vehicle in a cold area, then you don’t need to go overkill on the cold cranking amp power of the battery. You will just be spending more money on a battery that you won’t get the full benefit from.

Why did CCA become popular

So, if more cold cranking amps isn’t always needed, then why did it become popular. Well, the reason is that the brands advertise that more is better. They also compete with each other and brand x will say that they have more cold cranking amps than brandy to make their battery seem better. They do the same thing with cranking amps or marine cranking amps. This is just another measure of how much power a battery can put out under certain conditions. For regular cranking amps or marine cranking amps, it is the same test as CCA, but it is done at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This means this number will be bigger than the CCA number because it is easier for the battery to work in warmer temperatures.

Then one brand will say their battery has more cranking amps than another to make their battery seem better. More is normally better, but sometimes more is just overkill. If you have a little 4 cylinder engine, then you don’t need as much power to start it as a V8. If you buy a battery that can start a V8, then you are just spending more money than you need too.

Why should you look at CCA

So, if the numbers are inflated for marketing purposes and more weight is put on the CCA due to marketing, then why is it important. Well, some brands have started to add all kinds of cranking numbers to their batteries such as pulse crank or hot crank. These numbers have no set standard, so you can’t compare one batteries number to another and it is balanced. With cold cranking amps that is not the case. Cold cranking amps are measured the same no matter the battery brand. That means that you can compare apples to apples. That is why cold cranking amps is a good starting point when comparing batteries. It tells you when the battery is brand new and fully charged on strong it is. If one battery is way stronger than another, then it will probably stay stronger throughout the life of the battery. The key thing when buying a battery is finding one that will maintain the CCA years down the road that it has at the start. Life of a car battery is the real thing to focus on, but CCA is a good starting point when comparing batteries and trying to find one to buy. The key is don’t go overboard and spend more than you have to just because it has a lot of cold cranking amps.

Conclusion

So, now you know what cold cranking amps are. You know that CCA is a test to measure how many amps a battery can put out for 30 seconds at 0 degrees Fahrenheit while still maintaining 7.2 volts of charge. You also know that you don’t need to solely focus on a lot of CCA if you don’t live in an area that gets cold or are buying a battery for a car that won’t see cold driving. You know that you should focus on your manufactures specific in most situations so you don’t spend more money on the battery than you need to. Cold cranking amps are used for marketing to get you to buy more of a battery than you need, but really they should just be used to give you an apples to apple comparison on how strong two batteries are.

Some Reasons That Why My Charging System Is Failure

There is nothing worse than sliding the key i to the ignition and finding that your car will not start. Usually when this happens, there were some warning signs along the way. Maybe you missed them or maybe you didn’t want to think about it. You should always pay attention to those signs.

If you are having trouble starting your car, it could very well be a problem with the battery or the alternator. It is important to know what is wrong so that you can take the steps necessary to fix it.

Charging system failure

Charging system failure

What is the charging system in my vehicle?

All vehicles have a charging system. This system is responsible for keeping a charge in the battery and providing electricity for the radio, lights and other features your car may have. There are four parts to a charging system in today’s cars.  The system is comprised of a battery, an alternator, wires and an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Each part is responsible for certain functions and together they keep your car running.

 

What the charging system in vehicle is

What the charging system in vehicle is

Alternator

The alternator is responsible for creating electrical power. This power is used to run accessories and charge the battery. It turns the mechanical energy that comes from the engine’s crankshaft into electrical energy.

Electronic Control Unit

The Electronic Control Unit, also known as the regulator in older model cars, is responsible for controlling the alternator’s output. Its purpose is to sense when the battery needs charging or when there is a need for electricity.

Battery

This is where the electric power is converted and run through. The job of the battery is to start the engine of your vehicle. The battery is also responsible for getting power to the accessories even if the engine is not running.

What are some warning signs that my charging system is struggling?

One of the first signs that you will see if your system is struggling will most likely be the warning light on your dashboard. Most newer cars have his type of system. If you see that light come on, it means you need to check it out. This warning light may be called “Alt”, “Bat”, or “Gen”. If this light comes on while you are driving and the engine is running, it means there is a problem with the charging system.

What are some reasons why my charging system is failing?

There could be a few reasons why your charging system is failing. It is important to know what is wrong so that you can fix it.

Alternator

If your alternator is weak or low, you will need to have it replaced. You can test the strength of your alternator by using a voltmeter. If the reading is low, your mechanic will replace it. This is a common cause of charging system failure, so it makes sense to check the alternator right away.

Battery

If your battery is low, your car can experience problems and you will see that warning light come on. You can use a voltmeter to test your battery’s strength. If it is low, you need to replace the battery. Using the best battery tender to recharge it is the best way to maintain your battery.

Drive Belt Problems

The drive belt in a car’s charging system help the alternator. If the belt is worn or failing, then the alternator cannot function properly. This is another reason why your system might fail. If your light comes on, it could be a bad drive belt and your mechanic will need to replace it for you.

Corrosion

Corroded wires and connections can definitely be a reason that your car’s charging system is failing. You will need to clean your connections and battery clamps. You should also inspect all the wiring to be sure you do not have any loose or frayed wires.

Faulty Computer

As with any electronics, it is possible that your car’s computer system is somehow failing. Your mechanic will need to run diagnostics to check this and to make sure there are no other possible reasons why your system is failing.

Points to Remember

Your car relies on its electric system to generate the power it needs to run the engine, as well as run the accessories that go along with a car. This includes exterior lights, interior lights, the dashboard lights, the radio and phone chargers.

Your car’s charging system is made up of four different parts; a battery, an alternator, wires and an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Each part is responsible for certain functions and together they keep your car running. If any of these parts start to breakdown, it will affect the whole system.

If you notice that it is hard to start your car or if the lights dim, it is time to check your system. You will even see the warning light on your dashboard light up. It is crucial that you have your car’s system checked right away.

A car’s charging system can fail due to several reasons, so it is important to narrow it down. It is possible that you are having trouble with your alternator. A test with a voltmeter can tell you if it needs to be replaced. Similarly, a voltmeter can also check your battery to see if it is in need of replacing.

It is also possible that your car may have a failing drive belt. This would impede the work of the alternator. Your car may also have corrosion on the wires and connections. This would prohibit the energy to flow properly.

And it is possible that your car’s computer system is faulty. This needs to be determined by a mechanic so that other issues can be ruled out.

Final Thoughts

Nobody likes to be stranded. If you notice that your car’s charging system is starting to failing and you do not take steps to correct it, you will probably find yourself stranded someday. You should never ignore warning signs when they pop up on your dashboard. Regular maintenance can go a long way towards making sure everything is running smoothly under the hood.

Can Airbags Be Replaced After An Accident?

Perhaps one of the best inventions for cars and passengers has been the airbag. This amazing technology has saved lives and helped to reduce injuries in motor vehicle accidents.  Hopefully you will never have need of them, but they are always there for you -every time you get behind the wheel.

But what happens if you are unfortunately in an accident? Hopefully you are ok and so are your passengers. But now you need to have your car repaired. Or maybe it was just a small fender bender. In any case, if your airbag was deployed, what can be done?

Can Airbags be replaced after an accident

Can Airbags be replaced after an accident

How does a car airbag system work?

The main objective of an airbag is to slow down the passenger’s forward motion in the event of a collision as evenly and as quickly as possible. Ideally this happens in seconds. There are actually 3 parts to an airbag system that help accomplish this crucial safety feature.

  1. The airbag is made from a very thin, nylon fabric. This nylon fabric is then folded into the dashboard, steering wheel, or door panels.
  2. There is a sensor in place that will tell the airbag when it should deploy. This is set to happen when there is a collision with a force equal to running into a brick wall at about 10 miles an hour. A mechanical switch is then activated when there is a mass shift that closes an electrical contact. This signals the sensor that a crash has happened. The sensors get this information from an accelerometer that is built in to a microchip.
  3. The car’s airbag system inflates when it reacts with sodium and potassium to produce nitrogen gas.

What happens after your airbags are deployed

Airbags are deployed

Airbags are deployed

If you do have an accident, there are a few steps to take. First, check for injuries and call for help from the police and 911. Make sure that your car’s engine is turned off. Most likely you might need to have your car towed to a mechanic.

If your car’s airbags have deployed, it is a common misconception that your car is automatically totaled. There are actually three options for determining what happens to your car next. You will need to have your insurance company representative and mechanic look at the car to decide the best course of action.

The three possibilities for a car with deployed airbags

1.Sometimes the car is totaled. This is not necessarily because the airbag was deployed, but because of the cost involved in resetting it or replacing it. This is a decision your insurance adjuster will make and it takes into account how old your car is, how much any other repairs might cost and how much your car is worth.

2.Sometimes a deployed airbag can actually be reset. If there has not been any damage to the air bag, some makes and models of car will allow for it to be reset back into its module and then the mechanic will have to reset the sensors.  This needs to be done by an auto mechanic to ensure it is done properly. Your safety is priceless.

3.And there are instances when a deployed airbag can be replaced. This means that the used airbag is removed and a brand new one is installed. A mechanic will have to do this for you. It will involve placing a new airbag into the module and making sure the sensors are reset.

How much does it cost to have the airbags replaced?

If your car’s airbag has deployed and it is decided that it is safe to replace it, the average cost is between $3000 to $5000, per airbag. This price can vary. Just remember that you are not simply having the nylon air bag replaced. You are having the nylon replaced, you are having any storage modules repaired, the sensors are replaced and you will need to have the system recalibrated. Where the airbag is located in your car is another factor in the total price of replacement. Some modules are easier to get to than others.

What are some other reasons why my airbag needs to be replaced?

Being in an accident is just one reason why your airbag may deploy and need to be repaired or replaced. There are some other reasons why this could happen as well.

1. Your airbag may need to be replaced due to a recall from the manufacturer.

In this case the manufacturer may have noticed an issue with some part of your vehicle’s airbag system. They will send you a recall notice instructing you on how to get your airbags updated and replaced. This usually happens at no cost to you. Be sure to follow the recall instructions as soon as possible.

2. There may be a problem with some of the parts in the airbag system.

Usually you will know there is a problem because the airbag or SRS light will light up on your dashboard. There are many parts of the airbag system that could have a problem. This could be a blown fuse, one of the connectors might have been left disconnected after a repair.  It might also be because of a sensor wire is damaged or there is a short in the wiring.

Final Thoughts

Airbags are an incredible piece of automotive technology. Their use in automobiles have drastically reduced the number of fatalities in auto accidents and they have reduced the severity of injuries. The use of airbags is not something that should be compromised on, ever.

Due to improvements and advancements in technology, a deployed airbag does not necessarily mean your car is totaled. In fact, an insurance adjuster takes several things into account when deciding the fate of a car with a deployed airbag.

Today it is very possible to either repair or replace the deployed airbag. You will need to take your car to a mechanic to have them determine the best course of action. Just remember, your safety and that of your passengers is ultimately the most important.

Starter Engages When Battery Is Connected

Few things are as frustrating as when your car or truck will not start. It costs you time and money trying to figure out what is wrong. If you are lucky, you narrow it down to a dead battery.

But what if after you replace the battery you have a different problem arise? Sometimes you may find that your starter is engaging, even though you aren’t turning the ignition key. What causes this to happen? And what can you do to fix this?

 

Starter engages when battery is connected

Starter engages when battery is connected

How do the starter and battery work?

In order to understand the possible problems with your starter, you need to understand how it all works. The starter has a terminal that connects it to the battery. There is also a smaller terminal on the starter. This smaller terminal is the ignition switch that kicks the solenoid to engage the starter.

Starter and battery diagram

Starter and battery diagram

What to do if your starter stays engaged?

If you have replaced your starter, you may find you have this problem. If your starter engages when the battery is connected, but you aren’t turning the ignition key, you need to check a few things out. This is an issue that must be resolved.

  1. Over tightening

It is possible that you have over tightened the post on the smaller terminal. This is the terminal that signals to the solenoid to start the ignition. When this happens, the starter is getting the signal to start all the time.

It is very possible that when you over tightened the screws, and this has also cracked the solenoid case. You will need to replace these parts.

Btw, you can use battery maintainer to maintain your car battery,

What are some other reasons why my starter stays engaged?

  1. Oil or fluid leaks. If your car is showing any signs of having fluids or oil leaks, this could be causing an internal problem. Often times these kinds of leaks can and do ruin parts of the engine and can lead to fires. This type of corrosion can lead to starter issues.
  2. Loose mounting. It is crucial to check the mounting if you have recently replaced your  starter.
  3. Over tightening. If you are installing a new starter yourself, you should not use an impact wrench.  You should only hand tighten the bolts on the starter. And when you are tightening them, be sure to alternate bolts as you work. This will help prevent over tightening and cracking of the mounting.
  4. Broken Gear. If your ignition switch is faulty, it is possible that this has happened because the pinion gear has had improper contact with the starter ring gear. You would see that the pinion gear has severely damaged teeth all the way around it. This can also happen if you are trying to crank the engine, and it is already running.
  5. Poor Grounding. Mounting bases are crucial for starters to work correctly. They provide the electrical ground path to the starter. It is important that are clear and shiny. This ensures a smooth circuit.
  6. Loose electrical Connections. If the electrical connections are not securely fastened to the starter from the battery, the result can be arcing and burning.
  7. Melted terminals. If there is cranking of the engine, it can cause the terminals to overheat and melt. These terminals will need to be replaced.

It could be the starter solenoid.

The starter solenoid in your car is a relay. When you start your car, the battery sends electricity to the starter solenoid. The solenoid then waits to receive a signal from the ignition switch when you turn the key.

When voltage from the battery is sent to the solenoid, a switch is closed inside the solenoid and a current is sent to the starter.

So, how does the solenoid go bad?

There are 4 reasons why a solenoid goes bad. If any of these things have happened or you notice them, you will need to replace your solenoid.

Moisture

Once moisture gets inside the solenoid, it leads to corrosion. When this happens, it affects the electrical conductivity.

Overheating

When you turn your ignition key, it creates heat because the electrical current is pulled     through. If you hold the ignition switch on for an excessive amount of time, this causes the contacts to melt.

Overtightening

Again, overtightening when replacing the starter can cause damage to the starter. Make sure you do not use an impact wrench when replacing this part.

Incorrect Wiring

If you install the solenoid wrong, this can cause it to short out. When this happens, there will be internal damage to the wires.

Things to Remember

There is nothing more frustrating that a car that has trouble starting. And even though you may replace components such as battery and starter, you can still have an issue.

Having your car constantly engaged is also a problem. Your vehicle should only engage when you have turned the key. If it is happening without you doing this, there is a problem. Often times the problem is a faulty starter or solenoid. This is a repair you can do yourself with a few tools and a new part.

You should be careful if you are replacing your starter. You do not want to use an impact wrench. This will cause you to overtighten, and overtightening can cause cracks and damage.

Another problem to check for is damage due to moisture. If you notice excess moisture under the hood, this can lead to corrosion which causes the electrical conductivity to suffer.

Be sure to thoroughly check for loose connection from your starter terminals to your battery. Make sure that no wires are melted, damaged or loose.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing more frustrating than a car that won’t start, except perhaps a car that is always started. However, with a little bit of under the hood detective work, you can take steps to figure out the root cause. Just be sure to use care when handling your starter and be mindful of electricity.

Hopefully you will have your car back to starting, and stopping, correctly.

How Does A Carburetor Work?

One key part of your vehicle is the carburetor. The carburetor is located in the engine, and the carburetor is one of the key components that keep the engine running properly. In this article, we are going to look at what the carburetor actually does, and more importantly how it works. Knowing how the carburetor works are important because you can use this knowledge to diagnose things if your engine starts to run funny. Being able to solve the problem of why your vehicle isn’t running right yourself can save you lots of money from having a shop figure things out for you. That is why it is important that you keep reading so you can learn exactly what the carburetor is and how does a carburetor work.

How Does A Carburetor Work

How Does A Carburetor Work?

What is Carburetor?

Before getting into detail on how the carburetor works in your vehicle we are first going to talk about what it is. A carburetor or carb for short is a mechanical device that is located in the engine. The job of the carburetor is to control the fuel and air mixture in the cylinders of the engine to make sure the engine will run correctly. Nowadays most vehicles actually don’t have carburetors. Instead, cars today have fuel injection and sensors and computers are able to control the air and fuel mixture in the engine. Before fuel injection was invented though, it was carburetors that controlled this. This made them a key part of the engine.

Why is it important?

The reason that the carb was a key part of the engine was that if it wasn’t working right, then the engine would not run smoothly. That is because you need the proper amount of fuel and air in the engine to get the proper combustions. If you have too much fuel and not enough air, which is known as a rich mixture, then you are losing efficiency and the combustion will be too big which can damage the engine. If you don’t have enough fuel though, or too much air, which is known as running lean, then the engine has to work harder to produce the amount of power that it should produce. These reasons are why it is important to have the proper mixture and why the carb is a key part of the vehicle. Even today these concepts are important even with a fuel injection vehicle.

How does the carburetor work?

So, now that you know why the carburetor is so important we can move on to how it works. Once you know how it works you will understand how it is able to keep the air and fuel mixture right in the engine without having all the electronics and computers inside of it like modern fuel injection. The basic carburetors work like the following. Air comes in thru a pipe and into the engine. The pipe is shaped like a capital T and halfway down the pipe, there is a valve. When you first start the vehicle this valve, or choke, closes almost all the way allowing more fuel into the engine. This allows for a richer mixture so the engine can start.

The way the fuel is drawn in is the air passes thru a narrower part of the pipe called the venture. The air being forced thru the narrow kink causes the air pressure to drop and the drop in this pressure causes suction to form pulling the fuel in. In the bottom part of the pipe, there is the throttle. This is what swivels and controls the actual amount of fuel getting into the engine. When you hit the gas pedal it moves and more fuel goes into the engine allowing you to go faster. The air and fuel mixture flows into the proper cylinders.

The gas in a carburetor system is kept separately from the main fuel tank to prevent too much from going in. It is held in a mini-fuel tank that uses a float-feed chamber. As gas flows into the engine the level in the chamber drops and so does the float. When the float gets to a certain point it opens a valve and lets more gas into the chamber from the engine. Then the level raises and closes itself off once the float is back at the proper level. This explanation of how a carburetor works is the simple basic explanation. The thing is there are a lot of different carburetor designs, but they all work in a similar way. The carburetor has actually been around since the late 19th century, so a lot of changes have been made to it, but the main point of it has stayed the same.

Carburetor differences

So, now that you know the basics of how a carburetor works we can talk about some different kinds. The main way a carb is described is how the air enters it. In the muscle car world, most carbs are downdraft, meaning that the air enters from the top and moves down. For motorcycles, on the other hand, carbs are sidedraft meaning that the air moves in from the side. The reason for the difference is that motorcycles have less space and making the carb sidedraft makes it more compact.

The other big differences that you can find with carbs is the venturi size. The size of the venturi is important because it controls how much air gets thru and in turn how much fuel. In a carb, it is the job to mix the fuel and air evenly and to turn the liquid fuel into a gas. The venturi is a key part of this. By adjusting the size of it you can make sure to get a more proper mixture of gas and fuel for that particular vehicle. That is why it is important to match a carb up to an engine that it was designed to work with. The carburetor is responsible for fuel mixture and they are not interchangeable from one type of engine to another.

Conclusion

You can also get into more detail of slide carbs versus butterfly carbs which are different designs that allowed fuel and air indifferently, but this idea is a lot more advanced than this article is going to go. The key part of this article is so you can know how a carburetor works. It is also important to know the purpose of the carburetor as well if you are going to truly understand how it works. Now after reading this though you have a good basic understanding of what a carburetor is and what it is used for in your vehicle. On top of that, you know the basics of how a carburetor works and even though there are a lot of different types of carbs they all serve the same purpose and follow the basic principles that you now understand.

1

What To Do When Your Car Is Hard To Start But Runs Fine?

If your car takes more than 4 seconds to start, you may have an issue you need to deal with. If it’s extremely cold outside, this may be more of a common, weather-related issue and not much to worry about.

If the weather is no different from any other day when your car has started without issue, then you should troubleshoot the problem. Even though your car runs just fine today, it could take a turn for the worse and start giving you even more trouble if the issue is left alone.

What to Do When Your Car Is Hard to Start But Runs FineT

Before You Begin, There Are A Few Questions You Should Answer

Before you go inspecting the parts of your car, it’s best to start by thinking about the situation you have when your car is difficult to start.

For example, is it most difficult to start your car in cold situations? Is it difficult to start it when it’s hot outside? Are there any strange sounds or smells when you start your car or are driving? Are there any warning lights such as a check engine or service engine soon light? These can all give you invaluable clues. If any of these lights are on, it wouldn’t hurt to get a free diagnostic from an auto parts store in your area.

Troubleshooting the Problem

If your car is slow to start, there could be any number of things wrong with it. Troubleshooting will take some time, so prepare for that. First, determine if the problem occurs when the car is hot, cold, or at all times. This will help narrow down where you should look.

Where to Begin Looking

Before anything else, look for signs of a leak. Ensure that all of your wiring is clean and without nicks or bites. An overly worn or chewed wire can easily cause this type of problem. The same can be said for hoses. Corroded connections can also cause a slow start.

Begin by checking the wires connected to your starter. These should be two of them and they should be thoroughly looked over for damage. The connections should also be tested to ensure that they are well-maintained and corrosion-free. The started itself should also be inspected for signs of wear. Too much wear may mean you need a new starter. If your car does run fine, and there are no signs of leaks, smells, or bad wiring, this could be your issue.

Next, move on to check your battery and all of its connectors and wiring. Measure the health of your battery to make sure it isn’t failing.

A bad battery will make your car start slower and slower over time as it outputs less and less power. A battery over three years old should be tested at least once a year and this service will be offered free with an oil change at many shops (though you may have to ask for it.)

A battery with less than 70% of its original functionality is “failing” though it may continue to work “adequately” until it falls to 50% functionality. If you want to refill your battery, the best battery tender is excellent solution.

Check and Clean Your Sensors

Temperature and air flow sensors can begin to give bad readings if they are allowed to become dirty over time. This is a simple thing to fix. Locating the sensors may be the most difficult part but you should be able to do so with the help of your vehicle’s manual.

Test Your Fuel Pump

After inspecting your wiring and hoses for damage or leaks, consider testing your fuel pump. This is done by placing the key in the car and turning it “on” but not so that the engine turns over. Turn it off. Repeat two more times and on the third try, turn the car all the way on so that the engine turns over. If it starts in 3 seconds or less, you’ve solved the problem for now. What you have, in this case, is a weak fuel pump that needs to be replaced.

Further, if it is very cold and you have a weak fuel pump, your car may completely refuse to start on the first try or two if the fuel supply is very low (below an eighth of a tank.)

In this case, adding fuel will allow the car to start “normally” again, but also reveals where your problems are most likely coming from.

Check Your Filters

One of the most overlooked causes of a slow start are clogged filters. This could be the oil or air filter. These both need regular servicing or replacement. Failing to do so can make it hard for your car to do what it needs to run, hence the slow start. This is a warning sign that if these filters remain dirty or clogged, things will begin to get worse or break down.

Why Your Car Starts More Slowly in The Cold

When it’s cold out, your car will start slower than it normally would. Below certain temperatures, it may not start at all even if it’s in great shape.

This is because your engine oil thickens up and your battery outputs less current. Your engine will also need more fuel to get going and stay going.

All of this adds up to a car that will not start quickly though isn’t in need of repair. If, however, the problem persists when temperatures are well above freezing, you have a problem.

Conclusion

There are many, many things that could cause a slow start. The good news is that most of them are easy to troubleshoot on your own. However, if none of the above are the cause of your issue, you may need the help of a professional to find and fix the problem.

That said, if your car is running fine, the problem is likely to be small or localized. Further, all of the above steps should be done annually anyway, in order to keep your vehicle in good condition. The above troubleshooting options should help you locate the issue and give you peace of mind.

1

How to Troubleshoot: Engine Cranks But Car Won’t Start

Having an engine that cranks but won’t actually start can be incredibly frustrating. However, there are a number of easy fixes and troubleshooting steps that may help you find and fix the problem. Also, the following steps assume that you have already checked to see if you have a faulty starter. The starter may be faulty if the engine cranks inconsistently or the started itself makes strange or grinding sounds when you attempt to start your vehicle.

Engine Cranks But Car Won't Start

Engine Cranks But Car Won’t Start

Take The Weather and Fuel State Into Account

In extremely cold weather, if your fuel is low, it can be hard for your car to start up. This can mean that your fuel has become less liquid than usual or you just don’t have enough fuel for your car to start as a cold car require more fuel to start and run than a warm car would. If your fuel stores are very low, the weather is well below zero (including wind chill), or your car has been having trouble starting up in cold weather recently, this may be your issue. Thought it may still be wise to go ahead with the rest of your checks to make sure there isn’t another, obvious and more easily fixed issue.

Make Sure You’re Using the Right Key

Newer cars have keys that communicate with them in order to start. A faulty key or key without these capabilities means that it may not start. However, in these cases, the engine will typically not crank.

Check for Odd Sights and Sounds

Do you smell burnt rubber or fuel? Is there smoke or black soot? Both of these can be signs of a leak or flooding. Make sure to clean everything you can and perform proper maintenance to correct these issues before proceeding.

Check Warning Lights and Codes

If your check engine or service engine soon light is on, check the codes. Even if neither light is on, your car may still output certain maintenance codes for things it knows are “wrong” but that it hasn’t realized are preventing things from working correctly. As your car won’t start and if you don’t have a digital code reading device handy, there is a way to read codes “manually” and this method is typically outlined in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on its manufacturer’s website.

Check Your Battery

Check Your Battery

Check Your Battery

After checking for error and maintenance codes and finding none, check your battery. Is it corroded? Are all of the connectors and wires intact and in good shape? If not, can you repair, clean, or replace them? Once you have done so, it wouldn’t hurt to see if that has fixed your issue. Corrosion can lead to more issues than most people would think.

If no damage is found on the outside, check the function of the battery. It may not be dead, but it could be dying. Had your vehicle been slow to start before it stopped completely? If so, that is a sign that your battery has been dying for quite a while. Even if everything was fine, a battery can lose functionality quite quickly once it has reached the three-year mark and even faster after five years. You must have the best battery maintainer to recharge your battery can to start.

Is Your Security System a Little Too Good?

Occasionally and advanced “anti-theft” security system can prevent a car from starting. If you have recently had a small car accident, fender bender, bent your mirrors, hit your car with anything, or pressed the “panic button” your security system may have engaged and cut off the fuel supply.

Check Your Wiring, Sensors, Filters, and Fuses

Wiring can be chewed overnight causing untold damage and frustration but it’s an easy thing to spot and should be inspected regularly anyway. Sensors, especially temperature sensors, can become blocked, dirty, or corroded and will need to be cleaned or replaced id the damage is too great. Hoses should also be inspected. Even a slow leak could be the culprit.

Filters, both oil and air, can become blocked and prevent a vehicle from starting. They may also be installed too tightly and cause an error with another system or read as blocked even when they are new or clean.

Fuses may blow out or become damaged and need to be replaced. Any fuse could be the problem, so make sure to check them all. If one fuse is damaged, be sure to check the others. There could be more than one at fault.

Test Your Spark Plugs

Much like fuses, spark plugs need to be individually tested to ensure they are in working order. However, spark plugs may also be damaged or weak, rather than simply non-functional. You need special equipment in order to safely test spark plugs.

Test Your Fuel Pump and Compression Systems

Testing your fuel pump and other systems once your car refuses to start will take specialized equipment and knowledge. If you have made it this far and none of the above steps have yielded any results, you may have to seek expert help in order to proceed safely through the rest of your systems.

However, you can test for signs of a dead fuel pump. In order to do this, you should be able to turn the car on, without turning the key far enough to make the engine attempt to turn over. Listen closely as you do. Do you hear the same sounds you usually do? Typically, there will be a light buzzing type sound coming from the fuel pump, briefly. That means it’s working. If there is nothing but dead silence, you may have a dead fuel pump.

Conclusion

If your engine cranks but doesn’t start, any number of things could have gone wrong. Still, most of these fixes are relatively easy and things you may want to do as part of a regular maintenance routine. By now, you may have found your issue. If not, please get help from an experienced professional before attempting to remove or replace intricate parts. Further, if you do not have the tools to perform some of the recommended tests, do not try to do so using makeshift methods. This can be dangerous and risk your safety. Always make sure your vehicle is turned off before working on it.

Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery – How To Know Which One Is Not Working?

There are a lot of different parts that keep your car running. And it’s not always easy to tell what the problem is when it stops working. If you’re having car issues, its easy to jump to conclusions and assume the worst has happened and that your car will never run again. But instead of going into panic mode, you need to figure out what the problem is. Usually, the issue is with either your alternator or your battery. Bad alternator vs bad battery, how do you tell the difference?

Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery  

Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery

What does the alternator do?

The alternator in your car is in charge of recycling the energy your car battery uses while driving. It not only restores the power that the battery loses, it also powers the engine management, entertainment, climate control, and other systems in your car. Your car requires a lot of power to run. And thanks to your alternator, your battery is able to be replenished while your driving, which keeps you moving forward. Think of the alternator as being responsible for cycling the power within your engine as you drive. If you didn’t have an alternator to preform this function your car battery would quickly run out of power and the engine would die.

What does the battery do?

Your battery is also another essential part of your car. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to start or keep your car running.

The battery gives you car a jolt of electrical energy when needed to power the electrical components of your car. This is clear when you start your car, if the battery isn’t working then the car won’t start at all.

Car batteries are designed to last about 3 to 5 years, so if you’ve had your car longer than that and haven’t changed the battery it may be a good idea to get your battery checked.

How to know which one isn’t working? Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery

Taking alternator off and some hoses for heating and cooling systems

Taking alternator off and some hoses for heating and cooling systems

So now you know what the alternator and the battery do in your car. They are both essential parts that help your car function. But if you’re car isn’t working how do you know which one is the cause? Well there are a few signs that will help you determine the answer to that.

To tell if it’s a bad battery, first try starting the car. If it won’t start and you hear a low humming noise or clicking sound, this is a good indicator that the battery is the issue. Also, check the battery gauge, even when the car is on but the engine isn’t running the battery should still be powering the lights, windshield wipers, automatic windows, etc.

Another good idea is to get a rag and wipe any corrosion off of your battery. Then try starting your car again. After you’ve done that and the car still wont start try jumping the car. After you let it run for a little while, turn the car off and try to restart it as normal. If it still doesn’t turn on, this means there is an issue with the battery because while the car was running the alternator was able to supply the battery with power. But once it was turned off the battery was no longer working again. It’s normal as batteries age that they retain less charge. After enough time, the battery wont be able to hold enough power to start the car, so it’s time to get a new one. If your battery can recharge, using the best battery tender is good way to to it.

Now you know how to tell if it’s a bad battery, so how do you tell if it’s a bad alternator? If the previous steps showed that the battery was working, meaning after you jump started your car and turned it off you were able to turn it on again normally, then it’s time to check the alternator. Some signs of a bad alternator are dim lights on your dashboard, your headlights changing brightness as you accelerate and stop, a smell of burning rubber or hot wires, or a growling sound. Also, check your dashboard for a warning light that might indicate an issue with the alternator. But this may not always get trigger or may not be available on older cars. If you see any of these warning signs, it’s a good indicator that the issue is with your alternator and you need to get it checked.

What to do?

So, what should you do if you have a bad alternator vs bad battery? After you’ve determined where the issue is, you should take it to a mechanic to see what can be done. You will most likely have to replace the faulty part. Depending on your car, the year it was made, and other factors one issue may be more costly to repair than others. Batteries usually cost between $50-$200 depending on what kind of battery you get. Alternators are more expensive, ranging from $400-$1000 and up. So, although the symptoms of a bad battery and bad alternator may be similar, the cost to fix the problem is not.

Conclusion

Now you know what car batteries and car alternators do. They are crucial parts of your engine that keep your car running and in good working order. And now you know how to tell the difference between a bad alternator vs bad battery. When your car isn’t running right, it’s easy to notice. However, it’s not always as easy to figure out the reason why it’s not running properly. Being able to distinguish the key warning signs of whether or not the issue is with your alternator or your battery will help you figure out what you need to do next to fix your car. A battery can be a simple, and affordable fix while an accelerator can be a little more costly. But after reading this article you should have all the knowledge you need to be able to tell if its your alternator or your battery that is the problem. And then you can work on getting it fixed from there.